Report Says Student Loan Debt Could Be Dropping
While student debt continues to rise, some experts say it may soon be easing.
“For the first time, the average student loan debt has topped $30,000 per graduate in several states. But there are also signs the $1 trillion crisis is easing,” reports CNBC.
According to the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), the average for the class of 2013 topped $30,000 in six states and other states are not that far behind. On average in 2013 debt nationwide was $28,400, reports the TICAS. This is up three percent from the year before.
The nonprofit TICAS’s report “Student Debt and the Class of 2013,” its ninth annual, finds 69 percent of graduates left school with at least some debt.
“It’s getting harder and harder to graduate from college without debt,” Lauren Asher, president of TICAS, told CNBC.
But debt varies widely from state to state. There were six states that surpassed the $30,000 mark for the first time–New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Connecticut. Close behind are Maine, Michigan, Iowa, and South Carolina, with average debt topping $29,000.
The highest in the country was New Hampshire, where the average debt was $32,795 with a whopping 76 percent of its graduates having some student loan debt.
So back to the bright side: there are some states that have student debt under control. “New Mexico boasts the lowest indebtedness in the country, averaging just $18,656,” reports CNBC.
And more good news. The reports also indicated that schools are starting to slow down on tuition increases. “These price increases are lower than the average annual increases in the past five years, the past 10 years, and the past 30 years,” the report says.
In-state tuition at four-year public schools only saw an increase of $254 for the current academic year, equaling a 2.9 percent jump. But this marks the first time since 1974-75 that tuition has risen less than 3 percent, states the report.
For-profit colleges, increased tuition a mere 1.3 percent on average this year. (They might not be worth anything, some reports say.) But out-of-state tuition at public universities is went up 3.3 percent. Private four-year institutions boosted prices 3.7 percent, which is almost twice the overall rate of inflation. Other schools have actually lowered their tuition, the report found.
Because of this, the College Board says borrowing by students still in school is going down. There was a drop of 14 percent since 2011.
This is an important issue for the financial health of the nation. Student loan debt, of course, hits low-income students hard. But the impact is also trickling up to those from families with higher incomes because of the increasing cost of higher education. With family wealth hit hard by the recession, loans have become a solution for more and more families.